NO SWEAT

How to lose weight without going to gym

Slim Therapy founder Elizabeth Simiyu says an hour of electrotherapy is equivalent to a 12-hour workout. She stumbled on the solution while fighting baby fat, and now it is all the rage

In Summary

• Slim Therapy uses electrotherapy technology to burn fat, helping clients lose weight

• Nutritionists caution that the easier you lose weight, the easier you will gain it back

Elizabeth Simiyu, founder and co-owner of Slim therapy clinic demonstrating how the electrotherapy machine works on 23 August 2019.
NO GYM MEMBERSHIP Elizabeth Simiyu, founder and co-owner of Slim therapy clinic demonstrating how the electrotherapy machine works on 23 August 2019.
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA

When Elizabeth Simiyu, the founder and co-owner of Slim Therapy, started her weight loss journey, she had just given birth to her firstborn. 

Being a first-time mum, she struggled to take care of her newborn son and lose the extra weight she gained during pregnancy. 

"After I gave birth I gained a lot of weight, so I was looking for solutions on how to lose that weight. I even bought a treadmill because I wasn't living in Nairobi, so I could not join a gym," she said when we visited her premises at St Andrews Towers. 

 

The apartment complex, just off the busy University Way, has a serene environment that makes you forget the busy and noisy capital just a few metres away. 

Elizabeth says it proved difficult to find time to work out and babysit her now eight-month-old son. 

"You are trying to use the treadmill and my son was also trying to play with it and it was just not working out, I gained more weight," she said. 

Desperate for a solution, she embarked on researching methods of losing weight and came across electrotherapy. 

 

"When I tried it, it was working well for me. I did it for about three weeks and in that time, I lost about eight kilogrammes," she said. "I was also breastfeeding at the time, so that could explain that much weight loss in such a small period."

After getting such positive results, Elizabeth decided to open a business and reach out to more people struggling with weight loss. 

Electrotherapy is a medical technique in which an electric current is used to perform a wide variety of tasks associated with pain, neurological disorders, muscle-related conditions and drug delivery. 

 

"I opened a small branch in Westlands and the response was amazing. I just had two beds at that time and I used to have people coming in and fighting for those bed spaces," she said. "I saw the need was growing and decided to expand."

Her clinic, Slim Therapy, now in partnership with Oak Therapy, has four branches in Nairobi, Karen, South C and Mombasa. 

According to its website, an hour of electrotherapy is equivalent to a 12-hour workout, 1,200 sit-ups and 1,200 leg lifts.

Electrotherapy is a medical technique in which an electric current is used to perform a wide variety of tasks associated with pain, neurological disorders, muscle-related conditions and drug delivery.

A client undergoes electrotherapy at the Slim Therapy clinic on August 23
A client undergoes electrotherapy at the Slim Therapy clinic on August 23
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA
If you attend consistently for a minimum of three times a week for a month, you lose about five kilogrammes
Elizabeth Simiyu

HOW IT WORKS

The electrotherapy machine safely and effectively stimulates natural impulses to make the muscles contract and relax, similar to normal exercise. 

"Because all the client has to do is lie down as the machine works, we've had some come in and conduct business calls while on the machine," she said. 

Elizabeth describes electrotherapy as an exciting way to lose weight because you end up working those hard to reach muscles, such as the arms and back fat. 

"If you are running or doing push-ups or sit-ups, there is a way the muscles move when you are exercising so the machine does this for you. In one session you can work out all the muscles that maybe you would have worked out individually if you are doing it as an exercise," she said. 

It works your muscles harder for you by producing strong and deep yet comfortable contractions. It has the same effects as intensive exercise: weight loss and fitness.

"The result, I would say, is different for everyone. If you attend consistently for a minimum of three times a week for a month, you lose about five kilogrammes," she said. "To see proper results, however, you'll have to have done sessions for about two to three weeks. You lose a dress size literally."

Apart from dropping dress sizes and weight, electrotherapy may also help to tone, lift and shape belly, thighs and arms, tighten loose skin and improve cellulite appearance. It also improves blood circulation and skin tone and relieves pain and backaches.

One of its great success stories is Mary* (not her real name) who couldn't walk up a flight of stairs to the clinic when she started. 

"We had to go help her when she came for appointments because she had difficulty with the stairs, partly due to an injury but also because she was overweight," Elizabeth said. 

"After finishing the therapy, Mary was able to walk from the facility to Westlands area, which was quite a distance. It was amazing."

Elizabeth also receives brides who want to cut down a few inches before their big day. 

She narrates of a bride who found out about the facility a month to her wedding day and by the time she was done with treatment, had gone down a dress size. 

"It was great because she had to have her wedding dress reduced around the waist area," she said. 

Elizabeth also says her journey is a success story because with the treatment, she was able to reduce her weight from 82kg to 59kg. 

However, there have been clients who have come and failed to successfully lose weight. 

"We had a lady come in for sessions and we could see she was trying but she would lose two kilogrammes and gain one kilogramme back, lose three kilogrammes again and two kilogrammes back, and it was frustrating for her," she said. 

"I directed her to a therapist first because she also had such a negative outlook about herself and just like the gym, it's hard to lose weight when your mental health is suffering."

However, apart from electrotherapy, clients need to follow a meal plan provided by an in-house therapist. 

"The meal plan is not one-size-fits-all. We try and interview each client and understand what their needs are. Some have allergies, others have diseases such as diabetes, and other things," Elizabeth said.

"Our nutritionist can take you through the best plan for you. However, it's mostly about what to eat and at what time."

For instance, in a meal plan seen by the Star, a person on treatment is advised to eat soy milk instead of cow milk or dairy and drink blended fruit juice instead of sodas or processed packet juices. 

For breakfast, the nutritionist advises two boiled, poached, scrambled eggs with a tomato or avocado salad, drink a cup of herbal tea and a glass of lemon water instead of sausages, bacon, ham, wheat products and milk.

Another demonstration at Slim Therapy clinic on 23 August 2019
LOSING WEIGHT: Another demonstration at Slim Therapy clinic on 23 August 2019
Image: EZEKIEL AMINGA
If the goal is long-term, then electrotherapy might not be the best option as all it does is burn stored fat, without impacting on your metabolism
Nutritionist Christine Mati

CHARGES AND MEMBERSHIP

The sessions are charged on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. 

"We have monthly memberships and we have off-peak and peak sessions. Peak times are 5-9pm and anything that is before that time is off-peak sessions," she said. 

"Our peak sessions are Sh18,000 a month and our off-peak sessions are Sh15,000 a month."

A weekly session costs Sh7,000 and a quarterly session will cost Sh42,000. The clinic serves men, women and children who have received consent from their parents. 

"Men call and ask if the services are offered to them as well, but they prefer to remain anonymous. However, most of our demographic is women between the ages of 25 and 40," she said. 

The clinic, however, does not serve people with heart issues, epilepsy, spine issues and pregnant women. 

"We do have a list of the health issues that might stop you from doing the treatments, and we take our clients through that list before they start sessions," she said. 

Elizabeth adds they encourage clients to also do physical activities, such as walking, yoga or gym sessions. 

"The most important thing is you live a healthy lifestyle in terms of what you eat."

However, nutritionist Christine Mati says the easier you lose weight, the easier you will gain it back.

"Usually there is no rule about weight loss. Numerous things cause it. However, when voluntarily trying to lose weight, the method you choose depends on your objective. Do you want to lose it forever, for an event? In preparation for conception?" she said. 

If it is for a short-term goal, the nutritionist says electrotherapy is okay. 

"But if the goal is long-term, then electrotherapy might not be the best option as all it does is burn stored fat, without impacting on your metabolism," she said. 

"Unless it's your plan to keep doing it every other week, the body's metabolism will remain the same and it's really easy to convert back the fat from your diet. So for a long-term effect, a diet with reduced simple sugar, more protein and minimal fat is advised, coupled with regular exercise."

Edited by T Jalio